Gabrielle Kruks-WisnerFeb 3, 2023
Claiming the State
Active Citizenship and Social Welfare in Rural India
Cambridge University Press 2018
Citizens around the world look to the state for social welfare provision, but often struggle to access essential services in health, education, and social security. Claiming the State: Active Citizenship and Social Welfare in Rural India (Cambridge UP, 2018) investigates the everyday practices through which citizens of the world's largest democracy make claims on the state, asking whether, how, and why they engage public officials in the pursuit of social welfare. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in rural India, Kruks-Wisner demonstrates that claim-making is possible in settings (poor and remote) and among people (the lower classes and castes) where much democratic theory would be unlikely to predict it. Examining the conditions that foster and inhibit citizen action, she finds that greater social and spatial exposure - made possible when individuals traverse boundaries of caste, neighborhood, or village - builds citizens' political knowledge, expectations, and linkages to the state, and is associated with higher levels and broader repertoires of claim-making.
Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner is an Associate Professor of Politics & Global Studies at the University of Virginia. Prior to joining UVA, she was an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Boston College. She received a Ph.D. in Political Science and Masters in International Development Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.A. in Sociology & Anthropology from Swarthmore College